ABB plant in Rogersville to reopen after 'deep cleaning', COVID-19 screening

Jeff Bobo • Mar 27, 2020 at 5:00 PM

UPDATE: Second Hawkins County COVID-19 case confirmed.

ROGERSVILLE — An official with ABB Manufacturing told the Times News on Thursday that the Rogersville plant closed on Tuesday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 will be reopened following the completion of a “deep cleaning” of the plant and screening process for employees.

ABB Vice President of Communications Tracy Long said the company is taking further precautionary measures and following the applicable guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

“Since Tuesday’s announcement we have begun deep cleaning the entire facility, enhancing our social distancing recommendations and establishing an effective active screening process,” Long said. “Our goal is to create a safe environment and maintain a healthy workforce. Therefore, we will reopen the plant as soon as that effective screening process is in place.”

The Rogersville ABB plant employs approximately 230 people.

Long added, “We will keep updating our employees with further guidance and will take appropriate measures to mitigate the impact for our customers.”

The Times News spoke to the employee who tested positive on Tuesday. The 25-year-old man said he didn't know where he'd contracted the virus. As a member of the military he'd returned from Africa in October, and took a cruise to the Bahamas in December, but hadn't traveled since returning from the cruise.

He said he had flu-like symptoms last Friday and Saturday but tested negative for the flu. On Tuesday he came back positive for COVID-19, although he said  on Tuesday that he felt normal and was over the sickness. The man said he quarantined himself and said he was told he couldn’t return to work until April 5.

As of Thursday evening, the Tennessee Department of Health was still only reporting the one confirmed COVID-19 case in Hawkins County. As for other Northeast Tennessee counties, Sullivan County had four, Washington County had nine, Greene County had eight and Hamblen County had two.

Hawkins County Clerk opens drive-thru

In an effort to reduce the potential for spreading COVID-19, Hawkins County Clerk Nancy Davis opened a temporary drive-thru location on Thursday at 809 W. Main St. in Rogersville, which will be open on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Many thanks to First Community Bank for allowing us the use of their stand-alone building,” Davis said. “The drive-thru location services are limited to vehicle registration renewals, transfer of valid license plate to another vehicle, handicap placard renewals and first time registration of a vehicle. No duplicate titles will be issued at the drive-thru location.”

Davis added, “If you need other services like marriage license, business license, boat registration etc. that can not wait until later, please call either the Rogersville office (423) 272-7002 or the Church Hill office (423) 357-336 to ask questions or make an appointment. Please be patient during this time. We are doing all that we can do to meet the needs of our citizens and prevent further spread of this dangerous virus. We have never traveled this road before.”

HCRS Bass Tournament not canceled yet

The Hawkins County rescue Squad reported Thursday that the 28th annual Ralph Stanton Memorial Bass Tournament remains scheduled for Saturday, April 11.

HCRS officials are closely monitoring that schedule, however, due to COVID-19, and any changes will be be posted on the Rescue Squad's Facebook Page and sent to local media partners.

Those who have per-registered will also be notified by email in the event of any changes to the event. If you have any questions, leave a message on the HCRS Facebook Page or email [email protected]

Hawkins animal shelter remains open

The Hawkins County Humane Society will remain open Tuesday through Saturday, but is now closing an hour earlier.

“We are all concerned about the Coronavirus and the impacts to us all and also our fur-babies, but we are staying open for adoption at the animal shelter,” said HCHS Manager Sandy Behnke. “We have been generally closing about one-hour early at 4 p.m. We will keep you updated on Facebook of any changes. We are cleaning and disinfecting much more; requiring our employees and all to wash their hands frequently and to stay home if sick; and being careful not to allow too many people in the shelter at one time. Practice social distancing.”

Behnke added, “Now that we're staying home more, please consider adopting a dog or cat to help with the loneliness. Please contact us about the possibility of short-term fostering to test an animal before adopting.”

The shelter is located at 5180 Highway 11-W, Rogersville. For more information call (423) 272-6538.

Hawkins courtroom limitations extended to April 30

On Wednesday the Tennessee Supreme Court issued an order to all courts in the state extending the current court limitations through April 30, and all in-person court proceeding are postponed, with a few exceptions.

Hawkins County Sessions Court Judge Todd Ross said the following provisions will apply to all cases scheduled or arising between now and April 30.

1 — Those who are arrested and have not made bond will appear before the court, per the usual schedule, for bond and/or plea hearings. Members of the general public will not be allowed to attend.

2 — Cases in which the defendant has been cited into Court, or has made bond, will be reset. Our office is working to contact defendants and witnesses to provide reset dates. However, we do not have contact information for everyone. To contact Hawkins County Sessions Court to get a reset date on a criminal matter, email [email protected] and provide your full name, date of birth, and current court date.

3 — All civil matters, except cases involving orders of protection, will be reset. Please contact the Hawkins County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office (423) 272-4517 to obtain your new court date.

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